Bravo to Governor Gwen for standing up against Imperial Manila

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 14, 2021 - 12:00am

This is a late accolade and this is not being “sipsip”. I am asking for no favor. While the tempest was on its high notes, we opted to decline commenting on the standing arguments between the president's men on the one hand, and the courageous Gabriela Silang in Cebu Capitol, Governor Gwen, on the other hand. Now that the heat is no longer whistling in the teapot, so to say, I dare to opine that what the governor did and the stance she took boldly were the right things to do. We, Cebuanos, should be proud of this petite girl with fire in her belly.

A less gutsy local executive would have cowered and bowed down to Malacañang, especially with the style of the president that we know. But not the iron lady from Dumanjug and Barili. She is made of sterner stuff. She would not be bamboozled by such bureaucrats in the Cabinet who think that they are the repository of all executive wisdom and administrative acumen. She is the eldest child of governor and future deputy speaker Pabling and had a strong lady judge for a mother. She stands surrounded by brothers who are either Bar topnotchers, congressmen, mayors, or former GSIS presidents. But all of them cannot hold a handle to Manang Gwen. She has her own mind and she speaks with authority. And when she does everybody listens.

Perhaps, Malacañang can dictate its ways to governors of other provinces, those who prefer to hold their peace even in the midst of too much interference from the central government. They can do that to less-assertive local executives who do not know the true meaning of local autonomy. They can force their way to other subservient LGUs under cowardly city mayors and governors who still operate under the paradigm of Imperial Manila being like Mount Olympus where all the gods and goddesses should be worshipped and obeyed. But this is Cebu, the island that first killed its foreign invader, the land of the truly, truly free and the home of the brave, much like America and perhaps even more.

What matters most is that Governor Gwen is data-driven in her arguments. She has the numbers at her fingertips. She does not talk nonsense or use argumenti ad hominem. She argues scientifically. She has a mastery of statistics. She backs up her arguments with data, she can talk about infection rates with photographic memory and also cites daily rates of recovery, hospital occupancy, and vaccination numbers as if she has everything in her mental notes. No one can do that among the Cabinet members, except perhaps, my good friend, DOST Secretary Boy de la Pena, or NEDA's boy genius, Karl Kendrick Tiu Chua. But the secretaries of Health, DILG, Press, and that general in charge of vaccine procurement, no comment.

If Leni Robredo had the guts of Gwen Garcia, if Grace Poe was half as aggressive as our iron butterfly from Dumanjug, and if Sara Duterte had the fire in Gwen's belly, then President Digong would be proven wrong again, when he said that the presidency is not for women. In this country, women can be better, stronger, bolder, more decisive, and perhaps even more honest. And the Philippines will be in better hands. What do you say, Secretary Harry? Or Sal Panelo for that matter? I pause for a reply.

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